Major conference to fast-track UK robotics adoption


The Manufacturing Technology Centre is to host a two-day conference to drive the uptake of robotics and automation across UK manufacturing and address the widening productivity gap.

The Robotics and Automation – A New Perspective event at the MTC on May 4 and 5 will enable delegates from a wide range of industries from aerospace to food production to share insights into the transformational benefits of cutting edge robotic technologies in development at the MTC, and how automation can drive productivity in UK manufacturing.

The conference will build on the recommendations of a report by MTC robotics experts and the Industrial Policy Research Centre at Loughborough University. The report, entitled Robotics and Automation: A New Perspective:

The report called for more knowledge-sharing between robotics users and an emphasis on skills, as well as a greater understanding among the investor and finance community of the business benefits of automation. These themes will form the basis of discussions at the conference.

Mike Wilson, chief automation officer at the MTC and author of the report, said, “The UK lags behind many industrialised nations in its adoption of robotics – currently 24th in the world. This slow uptake is undoubtedly holding industry back. This conference aims to change that and instil confidence in our manufacturers to transform their future.

“The event will enable SMEs and supply chain companies to explore ground-breaking and innovative industrial robotic solutions so they can understand how their manufacturing operations would benefit.

“Pioneers of robotics will be on hand to highlight successful projects which have reaped the benefits of intelligent automation, and help people make the right decisions. It’s all about technology transfer and the sharing of best practice,” he said.

He added, “At the MTC we aim to create an ecosystem for everyone from SMEs to major industrial players and academics, to collaborate with the outcome of greater use of automation in UK industry.”

The report recommended that robotics and automation in the UK needed to be dramatically speeded up to increase the competitiveness of manufacturing and avoid a costly lag in productivity. It called for a renewed emphasis on the benefits of automation and for greater coalition between manufacturers, research organisations, equipment suppliers and Government to improve awareness and help businesses improve their performance through automation.

The conference will bring together high level speakers from industry, government and academia to emphasise the transformational benefits of automation, as well as the skills and system integration solutions needed to enable adoption

As well as traditional manufacturing the conference is aimed at the construction and infrastructure sectors, utilities, the food and drink industry, agriculture and sectors which involve hazardous environments including nuclear.

More information about the event can be found at

The MTC was founded by the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham and TWI Ltd. The MTC’s industrial members include some of the UK’s major global manufacturers.

The MTC aims to provide a competitive environment to bridge the gap between university-based research and the development of innovative manufacturing solutions, in line with the Government’s manufacturing strategy. The MTC is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, supported by Innovate UK.